Thursday, September 30, 2004


Day 5 ~ Saturday 28th August 2004

(Has it ever happened to you that you could read a whole chapter or book on something and it makes no sense. And then an event happens; not even an event – an incident – and you learn all that was contained in that chapter?

We all know that actions speak louder than words. If yesterday, Cordoba had penetrated into our personhood; then today it was our very hearts which were infiltrated by humility. The actions of the Arab brothers at the restaurant in Almeria were too much for words to comprehend. We felt like crying; like crawling under a stone and becoming ants – for after meeting these people we questioned who or what we are. And we thanked God Almighty for the many many blessings we have been endowed with. Alhamdulila).


I’m sitting beneath the sun leaning against the wall of the Estacion Bus in Granada. People walking past me with suitcases and luggage. Loads more coming out!

My companion is making a phone-call – she’s here now – come back! She’s looking for some shade – she’s gone!

(We have had this mega-big problem since we got here: my companion is finding it quite warm, boiling in fact; poor girlfriend is having hot flushes! Me on the other hand is walking directly in the sun! I had this same problem when we were in Pakistan and Saudi.. and would always get told off..)

We have booked a return to the coastal resort of Almeria today. But the Direct Bus goes at 11am. Its 9.45 right now… the indirect bus is about a 4 hour journey and went at 9.30am. Need to go to my companion.


After a heart-warmer with my companion on a side street from the Estacion, we are now sitting inside the coach.

The speaker is directly above my head; well I suppose they do say the best way to learn a language is by being exposed to it.. my ears are exposed enough. The air conditioning is on a constant ‘on’ – I’m trying to switch it off – don’t really like the cold on my face.. I’ve turned the direction of them away. We are moving – Bismillah. 11.13am

I think I will do some reading now – ahaa – lets see what we have here – “A History of Islamic Spain” by Montgomery Watt. 11.14am


We’re walking on the streets of Almeria. My companion says its not as hot as in Granada. We’re heading towards the Information Centre. We cant see any more signs for it.

Not many signs in sight. We have found a sign: Officina Municipal de Tourism (I write this down so we can show it to people later if need be).
We saw a lot of Arab Muslims at the Estacion; Almeria is on the coast.. maybe these folk are from North Africa?

Most shops are closed.

We bumped into a lovely Spanish family who are helping us. Apparently the tourist centre has closed down! OR is closed for siesta!

So we’re heading back to the Estacion to ask at the information desk located there. 1.47pm
I’ve just spotted a brother with an abaayah on!! Haha first one!

Its 32 degrees.

My companion says she can smell the sea. Just crossed a road –

Spanish people stay awaited at the traffic lights. They actually wait for the green man! Fascinating stuff. No crazy road pedestrians like in the UK! The roads have got zebra crossing lines on them – initially myself and my companion thought they were zebra crossings.

(They are actually NOT zebra crossings! We noticed that there were designated crossings which were these ‘zebra’ type. People wait at least 3 seconds after traffic has stopped to cross over. And we hardly ever saw anyone running across the road. However there are loads motorbikes here).

We’re in the Estacion. 1.55pm

OK, so we are 5 minutes from the sea. We have spotted i centre outside the station. Signs here have Arabic translations aswell. A testimony that there must be a thriving Arab community living here. We’re on Curratara De Ronda (that’s the name of the road).

Yes, we spotted a generous amount of hijabs and Arab features, more in one place than in Malaga, Granada or Cordoba.

Its 32 degrees but feels so cool. SubhanAllah, amazing how in the UK, such heat would be absolutely unbelievable. But Alhamdulila how God Almighty has given us the mechanism to cope and adjust ourselves accordingly.

I can see lots of palm trees now – need to get across a Road …. Oops … and I’m not at the crossing- this will be hard. No I’ve managed it!

33 degrees C – hey and they’re not all palm trees!

I can see the sea – SubhanAllah. Though I have a home-made fear of seeing A LOT of water at once – especially moving, AND in its live form. Alhamdulila this does look pleasant.

I’ve just spotted a rather bizarre statue sculpture of a man trampling on another below him. I wonder whether that’s historical reference? The plaque besides it is in Spanish. Hey – the water looks nice. MashaAllah woah I’m treading on sand – been ages.

And an Arab family. The swooshing sand of the water is so beautiful - so natural, peaceful.


A wet trousers and we head for some food. My companions’ taking some footage of the mountains on the other side. We spotted some ‘green’ water, seagreen as they say.

There’s a ship port my companion identified; blessed be the ….


We are still looking for food. The Spaniards are all asleep. Hey another chat with a Spanish lady and voila – the restaurants are a street away.


And right in front is Cafeteria Restaurante Miloud. Comidas Marroquies. A Moroccan restaurant and its halal!
Chicken forever!

This is all an Arab street!!!


We are the only females in here and we’ve had quite a discussion about our lunch! An Afro-Caribbean man helped us to order a plate of salad and a kebab tikka on the side. Very helpful indeed.
There seems to be a lot of Muslims on this street. I think the whole area here is Arab businesses. A lot of Arabic translations everywhere… and by now even my companion is tired of my constant journal entries.

Quite stuffy in here though the fans are on. We won’t be able to go to Alcazaba – the ruins of a grand citadel built by Abdar Rahman. My companion is deciding upon where exactly to head – she says we may need to take a bus onto another resort nearby.
I’m not at all fussed.

Alhamdulila one moment is sufficient; to get inspired, and instilled within.


They’ve brought the food – but its chips, rice and tikka –
Cant argue. We’ll eat it. They brought out the salad – we looked at each other and then at the ‘brother’ – and said: “Its OK!”
Time to eat. 2.50pm


SubhanAllah.. nice food, what an experience. The brother gave me water when I asked for a drink and then brought 2 more glasses when we needed a re-fill.

This experience has really touched us. Language and communication barriers meaning that wrong food is served maybe a normal occurrence for many atravellors – but I think its so important, well certainly for me – to count the favours and blessings I have gained. As they say, not even for one moment should we assume we are better than the other man. We could have made a fuss and a kick about being served the wrong food; but SubhanAllah I think that would be bad adhab on our part.

These people are so hard-working, makes me feel gutted. I want to be dust. 3.15pm


SubhanAllah, as we leave, we asked for the bill – we gave a couple of euros for tip. We couldn’t finish the kebabs so we asked for a bag: they wrapped them in foil. And in plastic bag.

We asked for them to fill our little bottle with water – and they pulled a 1.5 Litre bottle from the fridge for us!

That was so touching, so humble – just made me feel: “---, what are you?” both of us feel so touched. I feel dust – I really do. Can’t believe the humility of these people and as they say, words speak only half the sense as actions do.


We’re waiting for the bus to take us to a nice spot on the beach. We only have an hour and a half – we need to get back to the station at 5pm.

No sign of the bus – we’ll have to flag a cab. 3.32pm


The Taxi Base was behind the bus stop where we were waiting! We’re just awaiting the cars now. 3.42pm

(We realised that it is almost – actually it IS impossible to flag cabs here! The taxis stop at their bases, unlike in some south Asian countries like India and Pakistan where they can be stopped almost anywhere. This was a real bugger since it means you must be familiar with where the nearest taxi bases are!)



We’re in the cab listening to a Spanish guy singing, and looking out at the sea – it looks so beautiful, clean and pure. Agua de Luci is where we’re heading. Though the coasts look beautiful, we’re asking the driver to drop us off here rather than on a beach resort.

My companion tells me that the sea we see is the barrier between us and Africa.

SubhanAllah. 3.52pm


We are at a lovely spot on the coast at the Mediterranean Sea. The wimp that I am:

I saw a black something walking beneath the rock –
AAAAAAAARRRRRRRGGGHHHHHH Compaaaaaaaaniiiiiiiooooooooon!!!!!!!!

I yelled and screamed!

And ran back to the top … my companion in her desperation is looking for her footwear – we are literally jumping up and down in screams!

There is nobody else here – just the two of us and a whole community of Allah Almighty’s creation! --------

I am standing far away from the sea whilst Braveheart Comp is staring at the sea still. The sound of the waves is so beautiful. I guess I look too closely at the stones for then to reveal my fears.

(In fact this is also true of life.

Often we look so deeply into things in our life that we get scared of what we see: because it does bring onto the surface, our fears. Of course there is a balance to be attained especially since we are taught to be people of depth, substance and richness – none of which can be accomplished without deep reflection.
However, what I am referring to here are those issues in life which can become points for doubting the essential Reliance on God Almighty.

By far we are weak in our nature and it is when these ‘weaknesses’ become the barriers in the way of our relationship with God Almighty that spiritual troubles set in.
In my limited understanding, man is most cruellest to himself; at times when he looks very closely at himself, he sees nothing but his weaknesses. And it is at this stage that the above argument comes into play.
Because if now he sees nothing but his faults; he is in fact denying himself of seeing the Blessings of God Almighty; which are forever surrounding us.)


We’re waiting for the bus to the Estacion, our coach leaves at 5.30pm!!

In our flee from the rocks, we left behind the map!

Bus is here!

NO! false alarm!

No bus and its almost 5.08pm – Now what?!
We may need to flag a cab.
The guy at the stop tells us the bus comes 5.30!


Ina Lila Hi Wa Ina Ilai Hi Rajeun…

Its 5.24 and we have got onto the bus. We waited a long time for the bus and decided to get a cab since it would be quicker. I ran to the central reservation of the road to ask a couple of women (who were on the other side of the road) the number for the cab. Here it is:
950 33 40 00 - Parada de Puerto des Agnadualce – oh that’s where we were! Don’t ask about my conversation with the taxi operator ?!@*#!

…. It was rather difficult getting a decent instruction going with the op at the other end. We were speaking two different languages – literally! She did say a cabby would be with us soon.

We missed our first bus for the cab – when none came – we got into this.


As we drive past the Mediterranean sea, I wonder: is this the same water that the early Muslims from North Africa crossed? Have the tides since, changed?

As we go over the cliffs where roads have been constructed, I think to myself, is it here that the armies trod over once with their horses?

Do these stones bear witness to the travels of those righteous descendents of Arabia?

Are these the same waves that splashed on the bodys of the custodians of the Message?


It is now 5.32pm
There is no point in worrying about missing the coach – and why should there be – what was Tawakal Allah (Reliance on Allah) all about? We are nearly there now. We’re just going past the place where we caught the cab from. 5.33pm

Well 5.42 and the next bus we hear is at 7pm!

Ina Lila Hi Wa Ina Ilai Hi Rajeun.


My companions a bit upset – we will see how things pan out. I’m gonna ask about actual times. The next ones’ at 7pm. Now to find my companion. Aha there she is.


(My companion and myself fell out here – a little. Oh dear. A lot!
We both had a fierce exchange of words and went our way.
I thought.
Oh My God!
That’s my dearest companion;
my lovely sis;
my sweetest friend.

Gosh are we idiots or what?!
So we both sat in totally different parts of the Estacion till 7pm – I mean how sad is that?
I remember before we came we had a chat about how friends go on holiday and come back as enemies.
I thought how silly of me:
I’m supposed to be a Hajji –
a “someone whose done hajj” …
I would never be able to live with myself knowing someone is inconviened because of me.
My my, what face would I show God Almighty on the Day of Accounts?
That this is how I showed Him Gratitude for the so many favours which He had showered upon me?
I mean, He had answered the greatest of my prayers and supplications, and here I was acting a total idiot.
Stop in your track girlfriend I thought.

So as it approached time for the coach… I walked towards my companion and as idiots we both spoke at once! My sweet comp- how could I!!! And on top of that she’s not even feeling so well! Nah – I is sozzy sis!)


I’m standing with the driver – she’s got the tickets.


We’re in the coach now. Basically we had to confirm the tickets (since they were return) so there was a bit of running involved haha

There’s an Afro Caribbean ‘brother’ on the bus – a couple of rows on the right hand side.

We had to book reservation tickets to visit Alhambra for the second time due to the death of our batteries. I phoned them but they only do reservations between 9 and 5.30pm. They do internet reservations 24 hours so InshaAllah I will have to get to the cyber café when we get back to Granada.

We should arrive back at 9pm.

I just hope the Kodak guy doesn’t throw the memory stick away. (We had to collect the pics before 9). He shouldn’t do – well I suppose this is what Tawakal Allah is all about. If I’m going to worry about it – its not gong to be a good demonstration of my eternal faith is it?
Thus why bother.
If the Lord who sent me here in the first place wants me to get the memory stick and leave with the pictures of the spiritually uplifting mihraab then I will. And if I don’t then He will send me back again. Simple really when you think of it like that. Why complicate your faith? I believe. Full stop. 7.13pm


We’re sitting inside an Indian restaurant. We have spoken to the guy in Hindi and placed an order for traditional Punjabi saag, roti and lassi – proper Punjab style in Granada!


Time for bed.
I can’t believe I used the internet today!
I needed it to book tickets for Alhambra – unfortunately none are available for tomorrow.

(I went in search of the Internet café alone – companion was really tired and I told her I wouldn’t be long. My geography and instruction-giving is as good as the Spanish we know!
I am almost known for forgetting the way and getting lost.
I mean, I cant help it – I get de-ja-vus everywhere I go, so I think I have been there before – God knows where this spirit floats sometimes eh?!
Anyhow, I managed to find the café which was not far at all in the end! My companion was worried sick about me when I got back into the hotel after 10.30! Well, I guess that really bonded us again after our miff earlier)

The walk in the alleys at 10.20pm was a bit heart jumping but I thought: hey whats Tawakal Allah?

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